DBS furthers sustainability agenda with MSCI ESG Ratings

Singapore.03 Jan 2020

DBS adopts MSCI ESG Ratings for its wealth management business

Seeks to boost ESG transparency and empower investors to make more informed investment decisions

Singapore, 03 Jan 2020 - DBS has adopted MSCI ESG Ratings for its wealth management business, with the aim of providing clients with greater transparency over the environmental, social and governance (ESG) characteristics of their investment portfolios. This comes amidst growing interest in ESG investing (defined as the consideration of ESG factors alongside financial factors in the investment decision-making process) and aligns with the bank’s commitment to enhancing clients’ understanding on this front.

MSCI ESG Ratings score companies on their ESG risk exposure and risk management abilities relative to industry peers. Apart from identifying ESG risks and opportunities within investment portfolios, the ratings also serve as an additional tool for investment analysis – allowing investors to go beyond conventional financial analyses when assessing how their investments measure up to others, and therefore make more informed investment decisions.

DBS has adopted MSCI ESG Ratings (which covers equities, bonds and funds) as of November 2019, which will be embedded in DBS’ suite of wealth products, advisory and discretionary portfolio services. The ratings will be availed to wealth clients through their relationship managers upon request. DBS will also explore leveraging this capability to introduce ESG offerings in retail applications.

Though relatively nascent in Asia, ESG investing is a growing trend that cannot be ignored. According to the CFA Institute, ESG assets under management in Asia have been the fastest-growing since 2014[1]. This momentum is set to continue, driven in part by the impending intergenerational transfer of wealth to sustainability-conscious millennial investors – a 2017 FactSet study found that 90% of the high net worth millennials surveyed want to increase their allocations to responsible investments within five years[2].

Said Marc Lansonneur, Head of Managed Solutions, Balance Sheet Products and Investment Governance at DBS Wealth, “Clients’ attitudes towards ESG investing are becoming increasingly favourable. Encouraged by growing evidence of the correlation between robust ESG practices and strong corporate financial performance, more are expressing interest in incorporating ESG into their decision-making processes. However, they are often hampered by the lack of historical ESG data or a recognised sustainability benchmark. By adopting MSCI ESG Ratings and enabling transparent comparability, we hope to address this gap and drive growth in the ESG investing space.”

Lim Beng Eu, Head of South East Asia Client Coverage at MSCI said, “MSCI ESG Research is extremely pleased to be working with DBS Bank in their effort to provide their wealth clients with greater transparency on ESG issues. MSCI ESG Research is committed to providing ESG analytic tools and research insights to help investors to better understand and plan for portfolio risks and to make better informed investment decisions.”

This initiative is the latest of DBS’ efforts to provide clients with ease of access to ESG investing. The bank believes a properly structured ESG portfolio allows investors to align investments with personal values and reap the benefits of both, and has introduced a suite of ESG offerings – these include the DBS ESG MSCI Asia outperformance structured note and warrant, which were built on the investment thesis that investing based on ESG principles improves the risk-return characteristics of a portfolio; the inaugural issuance of Women’s Livelihood Bond, the world’s first social sustainability bond listed on a stock exchange; as well as a highly selective programme of ESG funds, chosen for their sustainable competitive advantages that make them more likely to outperform their given benchmarks in the long-term.

[1] ESG Disclosures in Asia Pacific. (2019, July 21). Retrieved from https://www.cfainstitute.org/en/advocacy/policy-positions/esg-disclosures-apac
[2] The Importance of ESG Investing for HNWIs. (2019, December 2). Retrieved from https://insight.factset.com/the-importance-of-esg-investing-for-hnwis.https://insight.factset.com/the-importance-of-esg-investing-for-hnwis


About DBS
DBS is a leading financial services group in Asia with a presence in 18 markets. Headquartered and listed in Singapore, DBS is in the three key Asian axes of growth: Greater China, Southeast Asia and South Asia. The bank's "AA-" and "Aa1" credit ratings are among the highest in the world.

Recognised for its global leadership, DBS has been named “World’s Best Bank” by Euromoney, “Global Bank of the Year” by The Banker and “Best Bank in the World” by Global Finance. The bank is at the forefront of leveraging digital technology to shape the future of banking, having been named “World’s Best Digital Bank” by Euromoney. In addition, DBS has been accorded the “Safest Bank in Asia” award by Global Finance for 11 consecutive years from 2009 to 2019.

DBS provides a full range of services in consumer, SME and corporate banking. As a bank born and bred in Asia, DBS understands the intricacies of doing business in the region’s most dynamic markets. DBS is committed to building lasting relationships with customers, and positively impacting communities through supporting social enterprises, as it banks the Asian way. It has also established a SGD 50 million foundation to strengthen its corporate social responsibility efforts in Singapore and across Asia.

With its extensive network of operations in Asia and emphasis on engaging and empowering its staff, DBS presents exciting career opportunities. The bank acknowledges the passion, commitment and can-do spirit in all of our 28,000 staff, representing over 40 nationalities. For more information, please visit www.dbs.com.